Publication Date



Open access

Embargo Period


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PHD)


Modern Languages and Literatures (Arts and Sciences)

Date of Defense


First Committee Member

Elena Grau-Lleveria

Second Committee Member

Christina Civantos

Third Committee Member

Lilian Manzor

Fourth Committee Member

Eduardo Elena

Fifth Committee Member

Beatriz Gonzalez-Stephan


This dissertation analyzes a selection of literary productions from Peru and Venezuela´s entre siglos (1880-1910) from a relational perspective that combines some of the tenets of literary studies, visual culture studies, and gender studies. This dialogical approach is groundbreaking in as much as it puts in relation a set of texts that have never been studied together, given their apparent aesthetic and ideological divergences. With this method, I aim to problematize the taxonomies set by the critical tradition, as well as to articulate a wider and more complex perception of Perú and Venezuela´s entre siglos literary production. In that sense, the notion of profanation is key for achieving that nuanced and non-reductionist understanding of the period and its literary discourses, which, from my analytical perspective, contest dominant taxonomies and conceptualizations set by the literary history and the critical tradition. The terms ethics and aesthetics of profanation constitute a new turn of the screw that aims to reach those alternative significations silenced – or impossible to perceive—by the ideological matrixes that have been used to conceptualize the literary productions of the period. Therefore, I problematize terms such as eclecticism, syncretism, synthesis, heterogeneity, hybridity, since they pose an aura of coherency among texts— and within a period—that needs to be studied in all its complexity. The notion of profanation reflects with greater complexity the idea of crisis, proposed by Federico de Onís as key for understanding the negotiations between past, present and future that marked entre siglos literary and cultural productions. Profanation also establishes a much-needed dialogue with the complex and unstable process of secularization, which according to Rafael Gutiérrez Girardot, explains in a significant extent the transformations and dynamic of the entre siglos. Just like our “divergent modernities” (quoting Julio Ramos), the process of secularization in Latin American countries was not linear, not homogeneous. On the contrary, it implied a complex dynamic of secularization of the sacred and sacralization of the profane. In that sense, the term entre siglos is coherent with the type of approach I propose in this research, since entre siglos connotes the intricate continuity and relationality not only between times, but also among (sometimes contradictory) aesthetics and ideologies. Determining the networks that help to connect these productions requires a perspective that overcomes the traditional rigid classifications, to facilitate delving into and capitalizing on the implications of those conditions of instability and divergence that marked the pacts and negotiations of Peru and Venezuela with those discourses, practices and imaginaries of a “divergent” modernity.


Mercedes Cabello de Carbonera; Rafael Cabrera Malo; Clorinda Matto de Turner; José Gil Fortoul; Clemente Palma; Virginia Gil de Hermoso; modernismo; modernity profanation; ethics; aesthetics; 19th century; entre siglos; naturalism; realism; criollismo; decadentism; gender; socio-sexual politics